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TOPIC: if hashem knows everything then how do i have free will

if hashem knows everything then how do i have free will 3 years 6 months ago #660

question about...i dont understand

I'll be sure to forward this onto one of our rabbi's. Expect an answer to be posted within a few days. - Hadas Bat-el
Last Edit: 3 years 6 months ago by Hadas Bat-el.
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if hashem knows everything then how do i have free will 3 years 6 months ago #681

Great question!

There's a challenge in understanding how we have free will if Hashem, who's "all-knowing", knows what choices we're going to make. If Hashem knows exactly what we're going to do, and He knows that tomorrow morning you'll hit the snooze button twice, then it sounds like you have no choice, that it's inevitable!

The Rambam (Hilchos Teshuva 5:5) explains that in order to understand the paradox, we need to understand the idea of Hashem being outside of time (since He created time and space, He transcends them-- don't think about it too much, you'll get a headache). Since Hashem is beyond time, He can "see" your future choices because from His perspective, you've already made them.

Imagine that you're about to make a choice whether to have a second piece of cake. You're not sure what you're going to do. And imagine that I, observing you, could go into a time machine, go forward ten minutes into the future (it's now 4:15 and I go forward to 4:25). And I see that you're eating the cake. So I see what you ended up deciding.

Now I go back into the machine, and go back in time to 4:15, to see you still deliberating over the cake.

So I know what you're going to do. Does that take away your free will? Does my knowledge affect your choice? Of course not. The opposite is true. It's your choice that caused me to have the knowledge.

So Hashem knows your choices, but they're still, YOUR choices.

Deep idea but think about it. If we can wrap our heads for a minute around what it likes to be Hashem, we realize there's no contradiction here.
Rabbi Moshe Zeldman lectures on a wide variety of Jewish topics to audiences around the world. He teaches Jewish philosophy at the Aish HaTorah Yeshiva in Jerusalem to both beginners and advanced students, as well as many other educational institutions in Israel. He also lectures internationally for the world-famous Discovery Seminar. Born and raised in Canada, Rabbi Zeldman did his undergraduate work in Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. During his studies he developed an interest in political issues affecting the Jewish community, and became involved in student activism, becoming national chairman of the Jewish Students Network, and served on the board of the World Union of Jewish Students. His interests in Jewish leadership and advocacy led him eventually to pursue studies in traditional Judaism. He made aliyah in 1991 and received rabbinical ordination from Yeshivat Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem. He teaches a variety of Jewish topics for Aish HaTorah, AEPi, Birthright, the Maimonides program at Princeton, Tel Aviv and Hebrew University, NCSY, Hillel, and the esteemed University of Cambridge Cholent Society. He has helped establish outreach centers in South and Central America, has lectured to Jewish communities in over 15 countries around the world, and founded the Core18 Leaders Lab for Jewish social entrepreneurs. Rabbi Zeldman lives in Jerusalem with his family.
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if hashem knows everything then how do i have free will 3 years 6 months ago #685

wow thats a really good answr. it took me a few times to read it but i tihnk i understand...
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